GOP Senators to WH: Better start planning for a $2.6 trillion budget

posted at 12:26 pm on May 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

If Congress doesn’t pass an increase to the statutory debt ceiling, does the White House have a Plan B?  So far, the indications are not encouraging.  Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that Plan A is to get a debt ceiling increase, and Plan B is … to get a debt ceiling increase.  With Americans consistently opposed to raising Washington’s credit card limit, 22 Republican Senators have sent a letter to the White House demanding a plan with a significantly lower spending cap:

“We believe it is irresponsible to ignore the broken political system and the very real possibility that the debt ceiling might not be raised in time.  And we believe it is irresponsible not to develop robust contingency plans now – just in case…

“We are calling on your Administration to immediately begin working with budget experts in Congress to allocate spending within a $2.6 trillion Debt Ceiling Budget.  All agency heads should then be instructed to develop plans to make sure essential services would be funded on a priority basis.

“Taking responsible action now will avert a crisis in the future.”

The Obama administration predicts that the federal government will receive $2.6 trillion in revenue next fiscal year, which is why Senator Ron Johnson and the others are demanding a budget capped at that level.  That may be a little on the optimistic side.  Those revenue numbers were based on very sunny assumptions about economic growth in the 4-5% GDP range.  Not only have we not come close to that goal in at least six quarters, we’re now moving in the other direction.  This Plan B might even need a Plan C.

Johnson’s demand also would force the White House to start planning for serious entitlement reform.  Discretionary spending was only one-third of the first FY2012 budget proposed by Obama, which got exactly zero votes in the Senate yesterday.  Mandatory spending would eat up $2.5 trillion of the $2.6 trillion cap, including spending on interest on existing debt as well as entitlement programs.  That would leave a bare $100 billion for national defense and security as well as everything else for which the government spends money.  That’s very obviously unacceptable to everyone, as well as unrealistic — so the only way to avoid wiping out nearly everything else in the federal government will be to immediately restructure entitlements to gain the necessary cost reductions to fit spending within revenue.

The White House won’t take this seriously, of course, unless Congress really does fail to pass a debt-ceiling increase.  At that point, everyone would be forced to take the issue of mandatory spending and its relation to deficits and debt seriously, which is the entire point of this demand.  Why not get started now, rather than wait for the crisis to hit?

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There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says

Republicans are pushing a security state

You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.
But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/secret-patriot-act

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says that Plan A is to get a debt ceiling increase, and Plan B is … to get a debt ceiling increase.

..of course, ol’ Timmy-babes is still wrestling with that personal tax software.

The War Planner on May 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

At what point will some begin to call for impeachment for dereliction of duty? Seriously.

Key West Reader on May 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Nobody puts Barky in a corner!

-Jay Carney

red winger on May 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

Dear leader, the 11th hour man

cmsinaz on May 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Tubo Tax Tim, strikes again and again and again.

upinak on May 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Way to stay on topic.

Got a break from polishing up Herr Doktor, eh?

catmman on May 26, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I thought the airhead from New York had a plan to fix this.

MNHawk on May 26, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Why not get started now, rather than wait for the crisis to hit?

Because the demorats WANT the crisis to hit? What better way to ram all sorts of heinous, illegal, unconstitutional crap down American’s throats than to catch us at our most desperate and vulnerable?

“We can make it all right again” they will say, “Just let us do what we need to do”.

Bishop on May 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Why not get started now, rather than wait for the crisis to hit?

I think you forgot Ed, that progressives want a crisis.
So they can come in to save the day with their socialist-communist agenda.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Libral_progressive_marxist quick fix: retroactively raise taxes in the amount needed to continue to fund all the important stuff, like researching shrimp running on a treadmill and gelatin wrestling (Drudge).

ClanDerson on May 26, 2011 at 12:36 PM

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,”

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

THAT worries you? So does all of the other usurpation of power by the Feds so far worry you at all?

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM

There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says

Republicans are pushing a security state

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Your Unabomber shack must have hot and cold running chicks.

Chuck Schick on May 26, 2011 at 12:40 PM

After the bank fiasco, I do not want Bernake nor Turbo Tax Timmy anywhere near a freaking budget, since they might want to bail it outor something.

upinak on May 26, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Forget raising the debt ceiling all together. Now that would be a real debt ceiling!

cartooner on May 26, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Bishop on May 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:35 PM

BINGO!!!!!!

capejasmine on May 26, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Those revenue numbers were based on very sunny assumptions about economic growth in the 4-5% GDP range.

Isn’t this what got us into trouble in the first place spending money we don’t have?

Dr Evil on May 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Republicans are pushing a security state

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

If you’re worried about that, then you must really cherish the 2nd Amendment.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM

If you’re worried about that, then you must really cherish the 2nd Amendment.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM

I think Ron Paul was on Coast to Coast again last night. So spathi is all sorts of fired up.

upinak on May 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM

This crisis has been in the implementation stage since the sixties. They just haven’t figured out the endstage yet but we don’t see any concern for the damage yet so why think they would start now.

fourdeucer on May 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Republicans are pushing a security state

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

(from the headlines)

Harry Reid on Patriot Act: Why does Rand Paul oppose tools for stopping terrorists?

“When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we will be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot against our country undetected,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Now, the senator from Kentucky is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them.”

Had no idea Harry Reid was a Republican…….

….or all of those other democrats that have been voting for the Patriot Act over the last decade.

Baxter Greene on May 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Why not get started now, rather than wait for the crisis to hit?

That’s not how it’s done.

You need a crisis first, so that you can then not let it go to waste …

RedPepper on May 26, 2011 at 12:49 PM

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,”

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

THAT worries you? So does all of the other usurpation of power by the Feds so far worry you at all?

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:37 PM

…I would be more concerned with a President who intentionally drives up gas/energy prices in a stagnant economy just to push his ideological agenda and fill up the pockets of his “alternative energy” cohorts……

Baxter Greene on May 26, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Okay, that photo of Michelle Obama in front of the plant on Drudge is flippin’ hilarious

John the Libertarian on May 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Living within our means. Cutting off credit. AS IF. If Obama would do that, I would kiss him.

Paul-Cincy on May 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I think Ron Paul was on Coast to Coast again last night. So spathi is all sorts of fired up.

upinak on May 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Well that program is well known for it’s appearance of assorted nutbags & crackpots.
There is a day hand cowboy that lives here in SW ND.
I always thought he was sorta strange. Likes to live the ‘cowboy’ life & is all strange about what that entails.
He writes tons of letters all the time to publications & programs that are geared towards farmers & ranchers.
Yesterday I heard a letter of his read on a radio show, guy by the last name of Thompson runs it.
Spouting off how Israelis are not God’s chosen people (of the Bible) & how it wasn’t a country til the UN set it up blah blah blah. It ended with a quote from Geo. Washington about how the US shouldn’t get involved in other nation’s entanglements & how we should have no allies.
Hearing Paul supporters like this talk, it seems that they are for isolationism on a huge scale.
It’s rather ironic that without the help from the French, we might never have won the R@volutionary War.
Sometimes ya gotta pick a side.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Baxter Greene on May 26, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Yup.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Spathi’s theme song.

Rebar on May 26, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Living within our means. Cutting off credit. AS IF. If Obama would do that, I would kiss him.

Paul-Cincy on May 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

If you did, I’d bet he’d like it.

teke184 on May 26, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Rebar on May 26, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Tune is now stuck in my head. Dude.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Tune is now stuck in my head. Dude.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 1:09 PM

There are worse.

Rebar on May 26, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Why not get started now, rather than wait for the crisis to hit?

Because, if you can only do big things in response to a crisis, you NEED a crisis to push your agenda. That’s been a continual MO of this Administration. Why change a method that has worked thus far? “Never waste a good crisis.” ;-P

Medbob on May 26, 2011 at 1:11 PM

If the debt ceiling doesn’t get raised, whatever results from it will be used by the Dems to explain to voters why the economy in 2012 didn’t get better. The Dems will blame the Republicans’ actions on the debt for the bad economy. Count on it!

mydh12 on May 26, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Here is the message from the 2010 election: Stop The Spending.

It doesn’t matter how it is done… it can be orderly via a proper budget, or disorderly via not raising the debt ceiling. Either way does it.

Just Stop The Spending.

That is Plan A to the voters and it doesn’t matter if they do it kicking and screaming, crying, with hops, skips and jumps, or with solemnly throwing the budget into the Potomac.

Stop the theatrics.

Stop The Spending.

ajacksonian on May 26, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Wait, there’s a White Sale at JC Penney’s!!

JP1986UM on May 26, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Then surely you’re against all the Executive Orders that your Dear Leader has issued. I mean, you don’t want to bypass Congress…that would be acting imperial.

search4truth on May 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM

There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says

Republicans are pushing a security state

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/secret-patriot-act

Spathi on May 26, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Hey, dumbarse, did you even read the article you linked to? Nowhere does it say that “Republicans are pushing” anything.

Idiot.

spinach.chin on May 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Plan C is/will be redeem the existing Trust Fund (TF) balances. They have already started on the Fed Retirement TFs, and the big one, the Social Security TF is still sitting out there with trillions of already approved debt.

Redeeming them will not add to the Federal Debt, as they are already included in that calculation as intra-governmental debt, but will add to the deficit as they are converted to publicly held treasuries.

Just what we need. Right?!?

CoRev on May 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Way OT…but look at the picture Drudge has posted with moochelle and the poorly placed plant.

lukespapa on May 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Hey, dumbarse, did you even read the article you linked to? Nowhere does it say that “Republicans are pushing” anything. Idiot. spinach.chin on May 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Democraps being interviewed, and O’Booba’s in the WH. So it must be the GOP that’s up to no good!11!!!!!!!!11!!!!1

Akzed on May 26, 2011 at 1:31 PM

This one’s a lot more sinister Rebar.

Badger40 on May 26, 2011 at 1:34 PM

lukespapa on May 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

yeah…that looks pretty bad…

i blame the plant!

cmsinaz on May 26, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Don’t raise the ceiling!!!

jeffn21 on May 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Car? Check.

Cliff? Check.

Okay, boys, put it in drive!

madmonkphotog on May 26, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The 2.6 trillion in projected revenues for Obama’s 2012 budget has major tax increases in it! By MAJOR I mean a 25% INCREASE.

Freddy on May 26, 2011 at 1:58 PM

$2.6 trillion… sounds like my plan… take the 2007 budget, and do a search and replace with 2012… If a department’s spending went up 100%, you cut it by 50%…

phreshone on May 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

lukespapa on May 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

yeah…that looks pretty bad…

i blame the plant!

cmsinaz on May 26, 2011 at 1:35 PM

First Lady Angela Davis is unamused.

teke184 on May 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: outside of contractual debt payments, there is no mandatory government spending.

Vashta.Nerada on May 26, 2011 at 2:29 PM

:)

Teke

cmsinaz on May 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM

Advance planning would take the edge off the crisis. But without a crisis you can’t take advantage of the situation. Thus there will be no advance planning. And it will be a huge crisis because the Republicans caused it all. And grandma will get thrown over the cliff because Republicans are evil. And Republicans will cave like they always do. And Republicans will take a beating in 2012 because they aren’t even good criminals like the Democrats.

Metanis on May 26, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Spare the no vote and spoil the President. The Democrat Party is acting like a spoiled three year old. They want more money and they want it now. They could care less that there is no money in the Treasury, they want to spend more money. They have votes to buy, support to pay for, and more votes to buy, we are coming up on an election next year. You don’t expect them to be able to spend enough this year to still get elected next year, come on. It is expensive to stay in office when you are a total incompetent.

old war horse on May 27, 2011 at 1:32 AM